A couple of weeks ago, I was asked by my friends at Venture Richmond, “What’s a perfect day downtown for you?” and I immediately lit up. You see, I received a job offer that is taking me away from Richmond and was ecstatic to be able to share some of my favorite places in my favorite city before I have to bid it adieu.
There aren’t many cities that can give you such a intimate feel of its spirit in just one day, but Richmond has that sort of magic. Richmond’s vibe makes you feel at home as you walk through its streets. You get to know the people pretty quickly, because of the southern roots, and you can feel the history pulsing through the streets and expanding to the murals on the walls.
One of my favorite parts of the city is downtown’s Broad Street, because Richmond shines in those few blocks for me. It’s the home of First Fridays Art Walk, but you can see just as much creativity and culture on any given day. You see RVA’s past in the character of its buildings, its creativity and life in the murals of local and visiting artists who have made new RVA history, and you can see the future the community is building together.
The first spot on my Venture downtown was Lift Coffee. Lift is my absolute favorite coffee shop in Richmond and it’s definitely a nostalgic place for me as it’s where I spent so much time studying during my time at VCU. It’s got creative drink specials (we got the Rose Lattes), space for meetings, friends, and getting work done, and it has the BEST food of any coffee shop, in my personal opinion, which was necessary for me when spending long days there.
It’s also the home of a gorgeous angel wings mural which is part of Colette Miller’s Global Angel WIngs Project. These are on the wall of their back patio, which is even more of a hidden gem than the coffee shop itself. Some of my favorite Richmond days have started with a custom croissant sandwich at the counter (the staff is the best) and my best friends joining me on the back patio for stories and laughs (and a couple of photoshoots).
Next in the pursuit of my perfect day, we headed over to Quirk Gallery. I love the revolving exhibits hosted by Quirk Gallery, and the shop always has the cutest unique things from local makers and creatives. They even host event pop-ups like the Celebrate Love pop up they had happening on this day, which was such a fun surprise.
Now, if you follow me, you know I have a slight obsession with our next stop. Mod&Soul is a locally-owned boutique that I’ve been a regular at since it opened its doors in 2016. It’s one of the few places where I actually get excited to shop, because I know I’ll walk out with pieces I love every time! The owner, Jasmina Zulic, picks the most beautiful pieces for the store that are both trendy and classic and cater to the every woman, whether she loves happy hours, long walks on the beach, or lounging at home. These days, in person shopping tends to stress me out, but stopping by Mod&Soul always does the opposite because I love trying on all the new pieces which are regularly updated with the seasons.
Finally, we wanted to end our perfect little day with some amazing food and drinks, which is really the highlight of any day , if you ask me. The European in me has such an attachment to Max’s on Broad, specifically because of the outdoor seating and the equally stunning big windows throughout (but especially on the second floor). Richmond doesn’t have a lot of places that have adopted sidewalk seating, and I love that Max’s has that feel of being part of the city while you dine. They just recently unveiled a new menu, so it was really fun to try out some of the new signature cocktails and appetizers. We loved the tuna tartare and you know the bread is everything you’d expect from a French-inspired restaurant...divine.
These are a few of my favorite places to frequent, but honestly, this part of downtown is my favorite strip to stroll. There’s new shops and restaurants constantly popping up as more and more creatives and entrepreneurs are inspired to realize their dreams in Richmond. The Arts District buzzes with inspiration and there’s always something new to explore as you walk from one spot to another. It was so fun to get a chance to say goodbye to the city I’ve called home for so long in a way that let me pay tribute to just a few of my favorite places that make it so special. I’m already planning on the next time I’ll be popping into these spots on my next visit!
Zumreta is a local, lifestyle blogger. Make sure to check out her blog, Bloom with Zum!